Study: New vehicle ‘infortainment' systems increase distractions behind the wheel

WSYR-TV - According to a new report from AAA, vehicle infotainment systems take drivers’ eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time.

Drivers using in-vehicle technologies like voice-based and touch screen features experienced very high levels of visual and mental demand for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message. 

Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash, according to previous research.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Utah to examine the visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demand as well as the time it took drivers to complete a task using the infotainment systems in 30 new 2017 vehicles. 

Study participants were required to use voice command, touch screen and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation, all while driving down the road.

Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete.

Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested.

None of the 30 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand, while 23 systems generated high or very high levels of demand on drivers:

Researchers found that most infotainment systems tested could easily be made safer by simply following clearly stated federal recommendations such as locking out text messaging, social media and programming navigation while the car is in motion.
 


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